Although queer Israeli cinema is often perceived as symptomatically expressing Israeli society and its gay politics, this article argues that the recent success of Israeli films abroad can be attributed to their inclusion within the global network of film festivals and art houses. Israeli films have been thriving as part of “world cinema” by adopting a formula that Thomas Elsaesser has labeled “self-othering” or “self-exoticizing,” in which they expose local issues, such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and ultraorthodox Jewish communities, to the gaze of the other. We suggest that many Israeli queer films offer a double exoticization, adding a gay twist to the familiar formula of Israeli self-othering, or providing an exotic locale to revitalize otherwise worn-out gay narratives. Additionally, we look at films that challenge this formula from within the festival network and suggest that we should also examine our own position as film scholars writing about queer Israeli cinema to a global academic community.

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